Just can't afford more money for the schools

To the Editor:

What the candidates and school board must understand is that people in the community simply can't afford any more money. According to the article ("School board candidates talk philosophy," Oct. 10, 2013) district raises have been two to three times the rate of inflation and raises and benefits exceed those of private business.

Most people I know, myself included, have not received a cost of living adjustment in four years or longer. This year I took a pay cut and my insurance rates increased again for the 10th straight year. My employer is making employees pay a higher percentage of their health care, while reducing the amount of benefits covered, and more cuts are coming. All the while the cost of everything else (i.e. gas, clothing, food, insurance, etc. etc.) have continued to increase.

Instead of accusing the public of a "myopic" view of education, the candidates and the board must first understand the "public" doesn't vote for a levy because they don't care. Parents are paying more (fees in addition to taxes) for education than they ever have in the past! Instead of looking to increase funding the board needs to look at cost containment issues that can improve education while maintaining costs at a level the public can support.

I have seen local county boards make real service cuts, as much as 50 percent and still maintain a quality service, by involving the entire community not just the taxpayer. They have recognized the critical need of resource stewardship in today's economy.

The board and school officials have for too long equated cost containment to a decrease in the quality of education. These new "candidates" need to look outside the box for funding and address the tough decisions to contain costs, not just for today, but moving forward. There needs to be a proven track record the public can trust.

One has to wonder if some of the board candidates have a "myopic view" of the public.

Stephen Finney